She turned to Kelsey Stevens, a sophomore transfer from Stanford, who had made 21 starts with a 2.99 earned-run average for the Cardinal last season.
In early March, the centerpiece of the OU lineup went down with an injury. Chamberlain, a junior who is 18 home runs shy of the NCAA career record of 90, missed nearly seven weeks in the heart of the regular season.
But Chamberlain and the Sooners kept their eyes on the ultimate goal, not letting their obstacles distract them from what they were trying to build toward.
Exactly when they need it, the Sooners are playing like a national title contender again. Though they had some struggles in the regional tournament, they came through unbeaten. Tennessee, with one of the nation’s best offenses, pushed OU to the brink in the best-of-3 super regional, but there was no doubt the Sooners were the better team that weekend.
Now, that No. 23 ranking has become a distant memory.
“We knew (early in the season) that we had work to do,” Chamberlain said. “We set our minds to it that we weren’t going to fall out of the top 25, and that we were going to make a stand at the end of the season. And I think you’re seeing that right now.”